LEGO’s Minifigure Trademark Means Less For AFOLs

In their ever expanding bid to encroach in the realm of AFOLs, they have finally come forward to clarify their stance on the minifigure Trademark.

This has been bandied about since 2020 in the LEGO Ambassador’s forum and we all knew it was coming, just that we were not sure when.

Just a sampling of the custom LEGO Printers around the world

From what I gather from the press release, any printing that depicts a logo or name on the LEGO Minifigure canvas is now forbidden. Now I can understand why they would do this as say someone could print a Ronald McDonald Minifigure like the one below and that would be a bit confusing public if LEGO were to collaborate with the golden arches again.

However, this blanket ban also includes LUG logos as well which can be a bit challenging since there is already a culture of creating sigfigs for our LUGs to exchange with each other at conventions or even random meet ups.

There is a slight reprieve as LEGO will allow printing on regular LEGO elements like tiles and bricks but even then, the wording from LEGO legal does leave the door open for that policy to change in the future.

Here you can read the full press release here:

Customized LEGO Minifigures with printed 3rd party logos, names of organizations, and trademarks are not allowed. It’s not acceptable to use of the registered Minifigure trademark in combination with 3rd party symbols. The reason for the rule is that a trademark cannot simultaneously serve as an exclusive, representative symbol of two different entities. The ability of the Minifigure to serve as a distinctive LEGO brand symbol is reduced when a Minifigure is also printed with the name, logo, symbol, or other representative indicia of another entity. Left unchallenged, such use by third-party entities could put our rights in the Minifigure at risk and could eventually result in the loss of our company’s exclusive rights. This is something that we cannot risk.

Therefore, we must request that the community refrain from printing any 3rd party logos, names of organizations, and trademarks onto LEGO Minifigures, and refrain from using, ordering, distributing or selling Minifigures in such customized versions.

We understand that the AFOL Community would still like to celebrate their community events and activities via use of customized items and are pleased to confirm that according to current corporate policy fans are free to print graphics on LEGO brick elements and custom builds made of LEGO brick elements to celebrate your community activities and events.

2 responses to “LEGO’s Minifigure Trademark Means Less For AFOLs”

  1. Paul Jones says:

    How can they impose restrictions on how their products are used after they sell them?

    Surely I am free to do what I like with them after purchase?

    If third party trademark owners wish to pursue those using their logos that’s a completely different issue and absolutely nothing to do with Lego.

    It’s a bit like a company selling oil paints and then trying to tell artists what type of pictures they can produce.

    • Brickfinder says:

      Which is why I think they worded it in the way that they did. They did not outright say we couldn’t do it. The most they could suggest was “please refrain”. They didn’t list any legal consequences in their statement.

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